It’s that time of year when political ads are dominating the airwaves. You can’t make it through a series of commercials on local TV or radio without seeing/hearing the candidates and/or their surrogates begging for votes.

The message that appeals to most people in these parts is one of conservatism, how they’ll work to cut out the waste in government spending … and the irony is, they’re sending that message to you by the most expensive and least effective way possible. Oh, well, they’re spending other people’s money, so who cares? That’s what they’ll be doing if they get the job they’re begging for, too, so they might as well get used to it.

They spend their donors’ money on TV and radio ads, but they expect us at community newspapers to come cover their speeches or do interviews with them to put out their message for free.

We get invited to cover candidates at civic clubs all the time, too, but rarely go. Most clubs have a “no politicking” rule with its guest speakers, but if a politician is speaking there, it’s political, whether it’s an overt or subtle solicitation for votes.

But if they’re going to snub us when they do their ad-buying, we’re going to snub them when it comes to covering them as “newsmakers.”

If you’re looking for a smart fiscal conservative, look for someone who advertises in the local newspaper. Is that self-serving? Of course. But it’s honest and accurate, too. 

Every objective study ever done shows that newspaper readers make up the highest percentage of voters. But candidates and their handlers get caught up in the numbers of “potential” voters with mass-marketing campaigns over the smarter and more effective targeted campaigns. 

It makes one wonder if they’re more worried about making a difference or being celebrities. Newspaper advertising is cheaper, more effective and less obtrusive than any other medium. That’s not a slick sales pitch. That’s just a fact.

Look on the pages of your local newspaper to find your best leaders, whether it’s in this upcoming election or next year’s county elections.

The ones who keep their money at home with smart purchases will be the most responsible stewards of your money, too.

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